by Ryan Labadens, U.S. Navy Public Affairs

One group of Seabee students at the Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) onboard the Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) accomplished a rare goal recently, becoming one of the few classes to earn the Commanding Officer Pennant for Excellence, also known as the “CO’s pennant.”

Cmdr. Russell Bates, NCTC commanding officer, presented the CO’s pennant to Builder A-school class 19430 Sept. 16, 2019, recognizing them for all the effort they put forth for nearly three months to earn this achievement.

To receive the CO’s pennant, the 10-student class also had to earn five other command pennants during their time at NCTC: the academic, physical fitness, volunteer, and safety pennants, and good conduct pennants.

For the academic pennant, all the students in class 19430 needed to have a grade point average of at least 90 percent; the physical fitness pennant required all of them to pass the Navy’s physical read test; the volunteer pennant required the class as a whole to perform at least 15 community service hours; to earn the safety pennant, the class couldn’t have any major safety infractions against them either on- or off-duty; and for the good conduct pennant, all of the class members had to earn Phase Three Liberty, take a test, pass inspections, and have no major infractions against them. The red, white and blue CO’s pennant attaches to the class’s guidon staff that they march with to class along with the other five pennants.

Builder Constructionman Apprentice Jennifer Hill, Builder A-school class 19430 company commander, emphasized that teamwork was the key factor in her class earning the pennant.

“I’m proud that we were able to all do it together. We became a team and were really close, and we were able to encourage each other,” said Hill. “We’d do study sessions together almost nightly, so it was a lot of work, and it made us really strong together as a group.”

Leadership also played a major role in helping them earn the CO’s pennant, especially the three lanes of leadership outlined in the Chief of Naval Operation’s Navy Leader Development Framework version 3.0: character, competence and connection.

Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Logan Carlos, NCTC Echo Company navy military training instructor, praised the leadership skills that Hill brought to the table to help her class earn the pennant.

“Her leadership techniques and how she drives her team and her class to accomplish these goals, you couldn’t ask for anything better,” said Carlos, who noted that character, competence, connection, as well as integrity, are values NCTC seeks to instill in all of its students.

Bates added his praised Builder A-school class 19430 and well as for the staff at NCTC for their job in teaching the future generation of Seabees.

“I’m especially proud of BU class #19430 to achieve this level of award and subsequent recognition,” said Bates. “During my 16 months in command, I’ve only awarded three CO’s pennants and I can tell you we’ve graduated over 60 classes in that time. This group of Sailors will now be the newest Seabees to join our ranks and I couldn’t be happier with their commitment, motivation and desire for excellence. Of course these accomplishments are not possible without the great school house staff, instructors and Navy Military Trainers who instruct and mentor them day and night in school and at the barracks. There is no doubt that NCTC’s staff is deeply invested in developing Seabees who are ready to join the Naval Construction Force.”